a pin of my grandmother's.
My grandmother died when I was very young, I was told. Sometimes, I pretend to remember the stories everyone else in my family does. The way she always fed me ice cream, and bought me things I had no reason to need (much to the annoyance of my parents). She apparently fought off their comments with “She is my grandbaby, and I will spoil her all I want”. Eerily enough, I can kind of imagine what her voice sounds like: a tad hoarser version of my mother’s, colored with age. And it really is kind of funny how I can imagine my mom saying the exact same thing. When I ask my mom about her, I don’t really get much information. I assume it’s because she thought she died of cancer, which was technically the cause of death, but perhaps not the only cause. And not speaking about what else could have happened is the way she keeps the memories of her happy and smiling.
There are some pictures of her, tucked in aging photo albums and left to rot, as those things will. But somehow, I cannot connect those pictures to her in any way. To me, my grandmother sparkles relentlessly, vibrant in purple, which is coincidentally my mother’s favorite color. The butterfly pin was always kept in my mother’s bedside drawer, and sometimes, when I thought I was being sneaky, I would put it on. I’m not sure if my mom knew that I did, but I can’t feel guilty for that. It was something physical of my grandma’s, something she held and touched. It was beautiful. The gold body would glisten in the bathroom lights as I went up on my tiptoes to try to see in the mirror, to find that it rested perfectly over my fluttering heart, the place she would have wanted to be. The outstretched wings glittered purple and gold. I know it’s silly, but I feel like some part of her rests inside the heart of that pin.
So when I imagine my grandma, this silly picture fills my head: one of purple, glittery butterflies feeding me ice cream with a tiny little spoon, telling my parents to (haha) bug off. I used to dream of her, and she would appear kind of like the Lunesta butterfly dressed in an effervescent purple, her voice telling me that she loves me in a whisper that caressed my mind. A whisper telling me that she’s my guardian angel. And now that I think of her, my guardian angel and grandmother, out there protecting me, the only thought that enters my mind (without a trace of a giggle) is that she is the toughest and scariest mother*#@!ing butterfly in the whole world.